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Design Thinking for Life

This year the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management partnered with Mann Library once again for the Dyson Summer Reading Project.  Over the summer months, incoming Dyson freshmen read “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” by authors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, who together co-founded the Life Design Lab at Stanford University. “Designing Your Life” teaches readers to approach their lives and careers from a design thinking frame of mind. Through iterative design exercises and processes, including reflection and evaluation, the book empowers readers to determine what is most important to them in a career and how to achieve their life goals. As part of the Reading Project, incoming Dyson School freshmen and other members of the Cornell University community participated in workshops that discussed the book’s themes and engaged students in hands-on exercises aimed at stimulating the application of design principles to forming holistic life goals and strategies for achieving them. The Dyson Summer Reading Project culminated on September 12th with a popular lecture and book signing by co-author Dave Evans.


Designing your Life at Cornell PosterThe Library collaborated actively with the Dyson School to help encourage engagement with the book and its insights within the Cornell community. Demand for the reserve copies of “Designing Your Life” available at both Mann Library and the Catherwood Library ran high throughout the summer months. As the semester opened, an interactive display on Mann’s first floor invited students to share some of their own ideas about finding a rewarding work-play-health-love balance while at Cornell, and to browse a cross-disciplinary selection of books on design-thinking applied to different settings—from business management and career planning to teaching and coaching.


And in the spirit of making the Reading Project as widely accessible as possible — across Cornell and beyond — Mann created an online guide to help connect virtual visitors to a broad set of resources in design thinking and career development.


This is the second year that Mann Library has contributed to the Dyson School Reading Project. In the fall of 2018, the Library created a library guide for that year’s featured book, “Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue.